Kiosks are revolutionizing business. As the self-service movement sweeps across all industries and into every consumer demographic, businesses have only two choices—adapt to the new consumer preferences or fall behind the competition. While it’s easy to assume that only B2C purchasing is affected, B2B marketers know first-hand that large-scale purchases are still determined by human decision-making, and the self-service movement is changing both business realms.
From grocery store check-out lines, event check-in registration stations, and video vending machines, to that miraculous self-service kiosk at the Department of Motor Vehicles (yes, you’re still waiting in line for twenty minutes, but it’s a LOT better than three hours)—kiosks are becoming the standard, preferred interaction between any business and its customers (even if those customers are, in fact, other businesses). Why?
- It saves time when you don’t need to explain your situation. Most of us go into a business already knowing what we really want—self-service kiosks are the easiest way for us to get the information that we need and to make our decisions, without ever involving the “middle man.”
- Kiosks keep things simple. Of course we want social interaction, drama, and EXCITEMENT!—we just don’t necessarily want them when we’re trying to quickly renew our auto registration over our lunch break.
- Kiosks take us directly to the information or services that we need. We’re all well aware of—and now completely accustomed to—the amazing ability to access nearly all documented human knowledge from the smartphone in our pocket; however, we know how much information is out there, and we deeply appreciate anyone or anything that can cut down on the work it takes to get us our answers.
Consumers are seeing more and more businesses apply kiosks to their B2C and B2B interactions, and this is an excellent tribute to kiosks’ functionality, popularity, and success! However, businesses are only gaining the benefits of this convenient and interactive technology when the units are programmed correctly—both technically and with the customers’ goals clearly in mind. What elements need to be considered?
Front End Programming for the Ideal User Interface
Although it’s easy to think that kiosks are “plug and play,” it takes a trusted technology advisor and expert planning to ensure that the interaction between customer and kiosk runs smoothly. Unfortunately, the average visitor has very little patience for errors or wait times, so a single glitch can taint the brand relationship permanently.
Furthermore, without a human customer service assistant, any inconvenience experienced at the kiosks can go unaddressed and unresolved. If a cash register experiences a glitch, a cashier can offer sincere apologies, offer alternative assistance and even offer discounted or free services. If a kiosk has a glitch, a customer eventually leaves feeling slighted, even offended—an experience that can sour their feelings about the brand forever. The stakes are very high; however, if kiosks are expertly programmed, they offer an unparalleled opportunity to connect consumers to content—any time, any place!
Kiosks can be programmed to offer any information, including:
- Digital Document Libraries
- Registration services
- Presentations and videos
- Cyber cafes, WiFi and Internet connections
- Locator services and interactive sitemaps
- Lead Retrieval Systems
- Event promotions
- Agendas and schedules
- Application software and App downloads
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Live news or Social Media feeds
The information that a business, event, or organization chooses to offer will depend completely on the wants and needs of their target audience. A skilled technician can create the programming that combines any number of options and services—creating the ideal kiosk for any situation.
Back End Programming that Achieves Precise Goals
A flawlessly designed and executed user experience is the primary goal of any kiosk setup; however, for businesses, one of the main benefits of kiosks is that each keystroke the customer makes can provide vital feedback. An expert technician can help businesses communicate with their audience through sophisticated self-service and fast access to complicated information. Better still, an expert programmer can facilitate and finesse the following critical business objectives:
- Custom software design and applications
- Exceptional software development and deployment
- Observable design process expertise
- Custom deployments and solutions
- Successful software integration and tweaking
- Custom enclosures
- Field support
- Reporting, data management, and analytics on the back end
Programmers are the only trusted source for customizing:
- Data access layers
- Operating systems
- Graphical user interfaces
- Command-line interfaces
- Content management systems
- Source code
Kiosk technology, while endlessly adaptable, is FAR from “one-size-fits-all.” A true technology professional will ensure that your customized software has a front end that serves the customers’ needs and a back end that serves the needs of your company!